Philip Coates

Solving a Puzzle-- Understanding Some People's Reactions

359 posts in this topic

Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when I post something critical, even if it's midly so and polite (like I think we shouldn't be so politics heavy and why a whole thread on a political event overseas), I get a very hostile response. Four or five people jump in and participate. And it's normally the same four of five. And if I persist it very often involves character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks. I've always been the same kind of person - high school, college, companies I worked for, normal people I've hung out with. Willing to observe a criticism or offer advice. Not shy or a wallflower in that respect. Yet I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards.

Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause?

I suspect that the very people who attack me the most vehemently were often silent and acquiescent back in their NBI or Peikoff days (depending how old they are.) Now, it's as if you went through years of Catholic school and bowed your head and didn't talk back to the authority figures and now someone pops up on a discussion board and defends any kind of order, strict rules, grammar, etc.

Don't give me no stinkin' badges. From some deep level of your subconscious the displaced feelings of frustration, guilt, resentment well up. You get a chance finally to project onto that person all the authoritarianism, all the strict rules that you resented.

And perhaps in some cases, you may have felt squelched, felt that you should have politely questioned Rand, Peikoff, the 'in crowd', Objectivism earlier on.

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Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when I post something critical, even if it's midly so and polite (like I think we shouldn't be so politics heavy and why a whole thread on a political event overseas), I get a very hostile response. Four or five people jump in and participate. And it's normally the same four of five. And if I persist it very often involves character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks. I've always been the same kind of person - high school, college, companies I worked for, normal people I've hung out with. Willing to observe a criticism or offer advice. Not shy or a wallflower in that respect. Yet I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards.

Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause?

I suspect that the very people who attack me the most vehemently were often silent and acquiescent back in their NBI or Peikoff days (depending how old they are.) Now, it's as if you went through years of Catholic school and bowed your head and didn't talk back to the authority figures and now someone pops up on a discussion board and defends any kind of order, strict rules, grammar, etc.

Don't give me no stinkin' badges. From some deep level of your subconscious the displaced feelings of frustration, guilt, resentment well up. You get a chance finally to project onto that person all the authoritarianism, all the strict rules that you resented.

And perhaps in some cases, you may have felt squelched, felt that you should have politely questioned Rand, Peikoff, the 'in crowd', Objectivism earlier on.

[italics are mine, not yours]

Can you help me with a simple question? How can you (or anyone else) know what is going on in someone else's head as in understanding intention or motivation. In my entire life I have never been able to know anything about anyone else other than what I inferred from their externalities: speech, writings, public actions, body language, facial expression etc. Short of a real time PET scan how can anyone know what is going on in someone else's head?

I have been "mind blind" my entire life. I did not even begin to grasp body language until my mid 20s and for me body language is like a foreign language. I only know about it by purely empirical and external means. I cannot relate it to anything going on inside med. To put a point on it, I have not got the foggiest notion of what someone else is feeling other than by inference and guesswork. I have not the foggiest notion of what motivates others. So I simply take them at their word when they express a motive publicly. And even then I don't know - since they could be mistaken or lying.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when I post something critical, even if it's midly so and polite (like I think we shouldn't be so politics heavy and why a whole thread on a political event overseas), I get a very hostile response. Four or five people jump in and participate. And it's normally the same four of five. And if I persist it very often involves character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks. I've always been the same kind of person - high school, college, companies I worked for, normal people I've hung out with. Willing to observe a criticism or offer advice. Not shy or a wallflower in that respect. Yet I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards.

Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause?

I suspect that the very people who attack me the most vehemently were often silent and acquiescent back in their NBI or Peikoff days (depending how old they are.) Now, it's as if you went through years of Catholic school and bowed your head and didn't talk back to the authority figures and now someone pops up on a discussion board and defends any kind of order, strict rules, grammar, etc.

Don't give me no stinkin' badges. From some deep level of your subconscious the displaced feelings of frustration, guilt, resentment well up. You get a chance finally to project onto that person all the authoritarianism, all the strict rules that you resented.

And perhaps in some cases, you may have felt squelched, felt that you should have politely questioned Rand, Peikoff, the 'in crowd', Objectivism earlier on.

It's because many of your posts are butt-in implicit ad hominem would-be controlling attacks on posters on a thread. Neither you nor I is a moderator on OL. The only one who does that is the list owner and his is a light and seldom felt touch. On threads you start and you don't like the digressions, you could make is a post to get the posters back on track by supplementing the original material, but you don't seem to do that. Instead it's your posts are too short or you could do better by doing it differently or you aren't concerned with ideas--yadda yadda, yadda. A thread is not a classroom and a forum is not a bunch of them or a school and you aren't entitled nor have you been asked to go from thread to thread to enforce your particular kind of order. If you were to start your own forum hardly anybody would show up to discuss what you think are "ideas"--ideas on how to behave and post. That's about 80% of your contributions here. Since Objectivism is mostly ethics how about some ideas from you about ethics and as they are represented in Objectivism? Or the politics you disdain, theoretical and actual. Metaphysics? Epistemology? Esthetics? By and large you ignore all that. When you don't you put up some good and interesting material. But since you will not or cannot leave us alone with your need to teach us how to post and behave stuff, you're going to continue to get the responses you've been getting. Even WSS, who went out of his way to be helpful to and supportive of you, has become so pissed off he's turned a blow-torch on your behind with what looks to be more coming. He too will learn it won't do any good. He won't be able to get through, nor will I. You either want more of the same or you just love this Briar Patch. This is the tragedy: Because of the way your mind is set up you are totally incompetent to be a teacher respecting interactive technique. You cannot grok the feedback from the students nor even from "students" who want nothing to do with being your students. You're all teaching with no place to go. Now, if you had high competence in an area or two, not teaching, then you could lecture away and those who were interested in the material would come and sit at your feet and learn all they could. There would be many, even if they really didn't like you so much.

--Brant

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If you were to start your own forum hardly anybody would show up...

Brant,

That is the core.

It's all about audience.

You won't find Phil taking you up on your implication. He knows better. (I, for one, dare him.)

So you get audience where you can find it. If you don't have the competence to generate your own audience, and you have a neurotic itch for attention, you try to get yourself in front of one that someone else has and try to set your neurotic rules in place.

I have seen one good thing after another destroyed by people like that. It doesn't take much, either. You do what an audience values or people go elsewhere. Bore them and they're gone. But try to convince the neurotic of that. Even when he finally destroys a project, he blames others.

This is one of the reasons I jazz it up some when an aggressive lonely soul tries it. (In a few cases, I have to take stronger measures, but that's another topic.)

With most of these maladjusted aspirants, I can help educate people in how destructive covert persuasion works (even if not intended), but keep it entertaining. I can show them what you don't see that works for attracting (and convincing) folks, what destroys it, and why. And lots of laughs with concrete real-time examples along the way. When you think about it, this is great content for OL's target audience.

Want some entertainment?

As I started to read Phil's rationalization effort just now, I chuckled because I started inverting things in my mind and they worked so well. Check this out. And I admit, I have to thank Phil. I couldn't dream this stuff up without his input.

Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when others post something critical about me, even if it's mildly so and polite (like they think I shouldn't be so forum-politics heavy and why a whole thread on how to behave is not welcome), they get a very hostile response from me. I lash out at four or five people and goad them to participate. And it's normally the same four or five. And if I persist, I very often make character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks.

Need I go on?

Just read any thread where Phil posts and, sooner or later, it's all there.

:)

Michael

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There Brant goes again with his lazy one liners. I lost count, but I bet there's at least 20 in that post.

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There Brant goes again with his lazy one liners. I lost count, but I bet there's at least 20 in that post.

Now you've gone and hurt me twenty times over. Phil's a piker compared to you.

--Brant

evul is as evul does

thank God you stopped counting

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Michael edited Philip to read:

Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when others post something critical about me, even if it's mildly so and polite (like they think I shouldn't be so forum-politics heavy and why a whole thread on how to behave is not welcome), they get a very hostile response from me. I lash out at four or five people and goad them to participate. And it's normally the same four or five. And if I persist, I very often make character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks.

end quote

Ouch! Now, let me pile on. Phil should continue to post positively. I really like his creativity but not his criticisms.

Brant wrote about Phil:

But since you will not or cannot leave us alone with your need to teach us how to post and behave stuff, you're going to continue to get the responses you've been getting.

end quote

That was my initial reaction, though I do think it is interesting how the vast majority of Objectivists bowed their heads and spirits and let themselves be termed, “Students of Objectivism.” The vast majority of those “Students” then gave Rand and Peacock the benefit of the doubt after the Brandens’ religious shunning. The truth did not come out, except in clandestine, mimeographed and copied exposes’ from Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. I did not see them until years later. That would not happen today. Rand should have been better understood and criticized. It would have been better for truth and justice and for Rand’s mental health. It would have been better for the movement which continues in 2012 as a hazardous to your mental health, kook claque.

Independent Objectivist,

Peter Taylor

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Phil,

If you want to know why the same four or five people are usually hostile to your posts, why don't you ask them (or us)? I suspect they (or we)would be happy to explain their (or our) reactions.

In fact, the reasons have been explained many times before. You just don't want to listen. That's your prerogative, of course, but the truth is that you have a manner of expressing yourself that can be excessively self-centered and condescending, even when you have legitimate points. At times you seem to be deliberately provoking hostile responses, but I'm not sure how much of this you are actually aware of. This puzzles me, frankly, because you could solve the problem fairly easily, provided you were willing to make a little effort. But you won't change anything unless you first admit that your critics might have a point, and you have been unwilling to do this, preferring instead to speculate about the motives of your critics, even though they don't typically have the same problem with other posters. It is more a matter of style than substance. Try writing some posts without the pronouns "I" and "me." That might help.

Ghs

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Michael edited Philip to read:

Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when others post something critical about me, even if it's mildly so and polite (like they think I shouldn't be so forum-politics heavy and why a whole thread on how to behave is not welcome), they get a very hostile response from me. I lash out at four or five people and goad them to participate. And it's normally the same four or five. And if I persist, I very often make character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks.

end quote

Ouch! Now, let me pile on. Phil should continue to post positively. I really like his creativity but not his criticisms.

Brant wrote about Phil:

But since you will not or cannot leave us alone with your need to teach us how to post and behave stuff, you're going to continue to get the responses you've been getting.

end quote

That was my initial reaction, though I do think it is interesting how the vast majority of Objectivists bowed their heads and spirits and let themselves be termed, “Students of Objectivism.” The vast majority of those “Students” then gave Rand and Peacock the benefit of the doubt after the Brandens’ religious shunning. The truth did not come out, except in clandestine, mimeographed and copied exposes’ from Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. I did not see them until years later. That would not happen today. Rand should have been better understood and criticized. It would have been better for truth and justice and for Rand’s mental health. It would have been better for the movement which continues in 2012 as a hazardous to your mental health, kook claque.

Independent Objectivist,

Peter Taylor

I read Atlas when I was 19. I'm soon going to be 68. My 67 yo self kicks the ass of my 19 yo--all over the place.

--Brant

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Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when I post something critical, even if it's midly so and polite (like I think we shouldn't be so politics heavy and why a whole thread on a political event overseas), I get a very hostile response. Four or five people jump in and participate. And it's normally the same four of five. And if I persist it very often involves character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks. I've always been the same kind of person - high school, college, companies I worked for, normal people I've hung out with. Willing to observe a criticism or offer advice. Not shy or a wallflower in that respect. Yet I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards.

Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause?

It only makes sense to compare those "strong reactions" in the same setting. Getting reactions on an internet board is different from getting reactions in high school, college, companies one has worked for, etc.

For in a direct face-to-face communication, people tend to shy away from being too direct because it causes stress to see one's 'counterpart' upset, offended. etc. Whereas in cypberspace, our 'mirror neurons' are far less likely to fire off.

Therefore it would make more sense to compare the reactions you got from your posts here at OL with reactions to posts you have made on other internet boards.

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Brant wrote:

I read Atlas when I was 19. I'm soon going to be 68. My 67 yo self kicks the ass of my 19 yo--all over the place.

end quote

Damn Brant. You have a 19 year old? Way to go Dog. Or are you talking about yourself at 19 vs you at 67?

I read “Atlas Sugared” when I was 17. Those Greek desert recipes were the highlight of many a supper.

Peter

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One thing Phil's starting post (#1) illustrates is his lack of attention to what the people he's talking about have posted themselves about their life histories. Wrong group of people for the speculation he makes. But indicative of the cocoon which surrounds him.

Something I've been wondering about which this seems a good place to ask: Has Phil posted on OO? From reports of that list, it sounds to me as if the people there would be more amenable to Phil's hectoring, which relies on attempts to elicit an Objectivist guilt which isn't present in the people whose behavior he tries to mold here.

Also: Was he banned on RoR? I thought he was, but I'm not sure.

Ellen

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> I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards. Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause? [Post 1]

I should have qualified this:

So strong a reaction -before- I became hostile and insulting myself, hostility from early on when I was polite in making my points and a lot less adamant and not hectoring. At this point, I'm regularly just returning insult for insult.

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> I've -never- gotten so unremittingly hostile (let alone often quite personal and vicious) a response as I have on several Objectivist boards. Why so strong a reaction out of all proportion to the cause? [Post 1]

I should have qualified this:

So strong a reaction -before- I became hostile and insulting myself, hostility from early on when I was polite in making my points and a lot less adamant and not hectoring. At this point, I'm regularly just returning insult for insult.

Then you are visiting the sins of the fathers on the heads of the sons; "early on" is not later on, and some of your imaginary enemies are actually friends oe puzzled acquaintances.I know how important and still vital the early history of Objectivism is, and how you and others here have personally shared it. But to others it is both fascinating old gossip,, and "old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago."

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Damn Brant. You have a 19 year old? Way to go Dog.

LOLOLOL...

Now that was worth all the BS behind getting this thread going.

Dayaamm!

:smile:

Michael

My 19 yo self.

--Brant

embarrassed

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Damn Brant. You have a 19 year old? Way to go Dog.

LOLOLOL...

Now that was worth all the BS behind getting this thread going.

Dayaamm!

:smile:

Michael

My 19 yo self.

--Brant

embarrassed

My 19 yo self read AS and for a while kicked herself around for not ever being able to be joyously productive, proudly self-sufficient, and for not wanting to live in Galts Gulch, and for being generally a non-human being.

We all grew up -- and here we all are.

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My 19 yo self read AS and for a while kicked herself around for not ever being able to be joyously productive, proudly self-sufficient, and for not wanting to live in Galts Gulch, and for being generally a non-human being.

We all grew up -- and here we all are.

I'm just getting out of that stage in life. It seems to me that kicking yourself over any of that is like crying over spilled milk.

One think I'm concerned of though is whether you imply that there is no such thing as joyous productivity? I hope not :(, because I hope to one day be happy at work.

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My 19 yo self read AS and for a while kicked herself around for not ever being able to be joyously productive, proudly self-sufficient, and for not wanting to live in Galts Gulch, and for being generally a non-human being.

We all grew up -- and here we all are.

I'm just getting out of that stage in life. It seems to me that kicking yourself over any of that is like crying over spilled milk.

One think I'm concerned of though is whether you imply that there is no such thing as joyous productivity? I hope not :sad:, because I hope to one day be happy at work.

Good for you.

--Brant

way to go!

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My 19 yo self read AS and for a while kicked herself around for not ever being able to be joyously productive, proudly self-sufficient, and for not wanting to live in Galts Gulch, and for being generally a non-human being.

We all grew up -- and here we all are.

I'm just getting out of that stage in life. It seems to me that kicking yourself over any of that is like crying over spilled milk.

One think I'm concerned of though is whether you imply that there is no such thing as joyous productivity? I hope not :sad:, because I hope to one day be happy at work.

No, of course I don't imply that. At that time I believed that whatever I decided to do, I should persevere, succeed and glory in, whether I was suited or qualified or ready to do it at all. I was wrong Later I was joyously productive and happy at work, and I still am today. So will you be too.

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Good for you.

--Brant

way to go!

Hey thanks :)

My 19 yo self read AS and for a while kicked herself around for not ever being able to be joyously productive, proudly self-sufficient, and for not wanting to live in Galts Gulch, and for being generally a non-human being.

We all grew up -- and here we all are.

I'm just getting out of that stage in life. It seems to me that kicking yourself over any of that is like crying over spilled milk.

One think I'm concerned of though is whether you imply that there is no such thing as joyous productivity? I hope not :sad:, because I hope to one day be happy at work.

No, of course I don't imply that. At that time I believed that whatever I decided to do, I should persevere, succeed and glory in, whether I was suited or qualified or ready to do it at all. I was wrong Later I was joyously productive and happy at work, and I still am today. So will you be too.

Yeah, I pretty much thought I should persevere while totally unready for what I was doing. Didn't really work out I guess. However, thanks for the encouragement ^_^.

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And she seemed so nice at first.

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Something seymourblogger just posted about NBI days made me realize something. I've wondered why when I post something critical, even if it's midly so and polite (like I think we shouldn't be so politics heavy and why a whole thread on a political event overseas), I get a very hostile response. Four or five people jump in and participate. And it's normally the same four of five. And if I persist it very often involves character and honesty and 'hypocrisy' attacks.

Here's why aside from your psychological reasons which are certainly credible, but they are interpretive and invite an interpretive response. Then there's a response that interprets the interpretation, and on and on and on. So this is why the dialectic is useless. One tries for closure and can't get there. They can't not because they just haven't found the right words, or a better way of phrasing it, or a more benign way of saying it, or or or ..........

The very simple reason is that there is a Dominating Discourse here. All fundamental founding Discourses include their opposites in their structural founding. It is inherent that in the dialectic, the argument can continue forever when there ae opposing perceptions, feelings, thoughts, facts, opinions, etc etc etc.

If you "CUT" into the Discourse, fury will erupt, not just hostility. People die when they do this, Galileo had to recant. Rand spent decades arguing and only in her fiction could she say it and obtain closure. Her non-fiction was always open to interpretation and argumentation.

To threaten the Discourse is the worst thing you can do. They will want to "kill" you for doing it. Here it is in action in the movie Moneyball: http://moviesandfilm.blogspot.com/2012/01/review-moneyball-foucault-and.html

Please tell me you can't understand with this example.

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So, Janet, are you familiar with earlier chapters of this story, or what? Have you read the actual history/narrative that your quote is but one facet/reflection? Are you familiar with the characters, their Grid, their life-histories?

I ask this because with a sloppy application of The Rules Of Everything, you seem to know just who and what and how the actors are aligned in moral order. In this sytematic slop, the individuals are but particles in a field, obeying the Law of Foucault.

In other words, you are feeding someone's delusions. He should pay you.

Oh, and is it true that you describe the reception you have recieved here as the actions of a Howling Angry Mob -- in another forum? If so, how do you answer the inaccuracy, and how will you demonstrate good will here? if you indulge in off-site self-inflating reports of your Victory Against the Rubes, may we view you with contempt rather than amusement?

If you are indulging in self-regarding reportage elsewhere, and this kind of offsite sneering is your norm -- your Dominant Discourse -- what advice will you give us?

-- interpretation A: Janet is TROLLING--

-- interpretation B: Janet is a good faith interlocutor

-- interpretation C: Janet is Phil as read through Jeff Walker

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